September 4th, 2019: A Walk In The Park

Be prepared for the possibility of rain and wind gusts today, particularly during your evening commute:

Wednesday Weather

Wednesday A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 3pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Southwest wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

Wednesday Night A chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight, then a slight chance of showers between midnight and 3am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 63. Southwest wind 7 to 9 mph becoming north after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

Sunrise 6:26am

Sunset 7:24pm

As always, watch out for ticketing:

This month, a protected bike lane is finally coming to Southern Boulevard in the Bronx:

This means you'll soon be able to ride to the New York Botanical Gardens for some quiet contemplation--which you won't find in Central Park:

“It’s the Wild, Wild West. It has to stop being the Wild West,” said Benepe, who now works at the Trust for Public Land.

The chaos starts with bad design — roadways are still striped for the (mostly absent) automobiles, and the many traffic signals inside the park don’t immediately appear that they apply to pedestrians and cyclists. So it’s not just that no one obeys the rules — it’s not clear what those rules are. Indeed, Benepe said, after the park officially became car-free last June, the city “never figured out the new rules of the road.”

If the city can’t figure out the rules, how can the users? (Hint: They can’t.)

Removing the cars was a good start, but maybe it's time to use the park the way it was originally designed:

The Central Park drives weren’t designed for car traffic. They were designed for horses as well as horse-drawn carriages and chariots; the park is pre-bicycle, pre-running. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park designers, created ways to the interior of Central Park that didn’t involve crossing the road. Just as they did with the transverses, which allow car traffic to cross under Central Park at 65th, 79th, 86th, and 96th streets, but remain out of view of park users, they created means for horse-drawn vehicles to use the drives and pedestrians to cross underneath without running into one another. These are effectively bridges. But to the person on foot, they’re archways, the underside of an arched bridge. They were designed to be visually striking, both to draw people to see the archways on their design merit, and to beautifully frame what is beyond the arch. The Central Park Conservancy lists 25 bridges and arches on their website. Of those, at least 15 appear to go under park roads. There were actually more, including a few bridges over roadways, but they were removed by Robert Moses. In some cases, it was to make it easier for cars to drive through the park.

Then put two-way bike lanes on all the surrounding streets and avenues and turn the transverses into crosstown bikeways. 

Done, and done.

Meanwhile, here's what it takes for a driver to be charged with murder:

In a city filled with cars, breaking into one is a crime so common it often goes unnoticed.

But on Labor Day, a motorist in Brooklyn spotted a man trying to break into his sport-utility vehicle and, instead of calling the police, chased him with the S.U.V. as the man fled on a bicycle, running him over and killing him.

And Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams expressed frustration with "trolling debates" and "hidden figures" prior to last night's placard abuse town hall:

Responses weren't exactly cloaked in anonymity:

Sounds like things went well:

Yes, there's conflict over our streets, our parks, and our plazas, and the solution is obviously--*record scratch sound*--personal human flight?!?

And problems with our infrastructure will only worsen due to growing urbanization. A United Nations report last year predicted that by the year 2050, two-thirds of the world's population is expected to live in urban areas. To accommodate this population density, cities will require massive changes to infrastructure, including more efficient and environmentally friendly transportation.

One innovative solution is on the horizon. For the first time in history, we have the ability to create personal human flight. Earlier this month, Franky Zapata piloted his hoverboard across the English Channel. Of course, this is just one example of many inventions that are being developed.

    From electric aircraft to jetpacks, our science fiction dreams are becoming a reality.

    Tell people we need more bike lanes and it's, "Well what about the snow?  The rain?  The elderly?  The groceries?"  But tell them we'll all be zipping through hyperloops or flying around on hoverboards and it's, "Well there's our transit and climate change crises solved, what's next?"

    Sometimes America feels like a dystopian science fiction story in which the bicycle was never invented.